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Index results bode well for quarterly GDPprise mark

hina’s economic growth will remain stable in the first quarter, and is expected to land at 6.3 percent or even higher year-on-year when it is released this week, e

conomists said after some economic indicators for March surprised the market on the upside.

“Downside pressure began to ease in the first quarter, as signaled by the r

ather substantial recovery in various economic indicators in March,” said Yao Jingyuan, form

er chief economist at the National Bureau of Statistics and a researcher for the Counselors’ Office of the State Council.

Chinese banks’ lending in yuan, a leading indicator for the real economy

, surged in March by 1.69 trillion yuan ($252 billion), up 52 percent from a year earli

er, according to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank. The manufacturing purchasing managers inde

x for March, which was back into expansion territory, may be a sign of accelerating industrial activities.

Exports in March also picked up, rising 14.2 percent in US dollar ter

ms from a year ago, versus 0.1 percent for the January-February period, customs data showed.

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Nearly 3.4 billion trips were made on Chinese rail line

 last year. Every day, an average of 5.5 million people use the nation’

s high-speed trains, accounting for nearly 60 percent of daily users of the country’s rail network.

The State-owned rail car manufacturer CRRC Corp, the world’s largest train maker, had sta

rted developing a new-generation of bullet train that will operate at 400 kilometers per hour.

A preliminary report issued on Thursday by Ethiopian officials found that a malfunctioning sensor sent incorrect inform

ation to a Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner, triggering an anti-stall system that began a chain of events that ended with th

e plane nose-diving into the ground, killing 157 people on March 10, the Associated Press reported.

Boeing has acknowledged that the sensor malfunctioned in the Ethiopian Airlines 737

Max jetliner, triggering the anti-stall system when it was not needed, the AP reported.

In addition, CRRC is designing two types of maglev trains-a 600 km/h high-speed version and a 200 km/h medium-speed ver

sion. Designers said the company expects to put them into service sometime around 2021.

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The terraced fields are where my roots are. They are the

 golden rice bowls passed down from our ancestors,” said Lu, 61. “We cannot afford to lose them.”

The local terraced fields have been in existence for about 1,300 years when

the Hani people built a complicated channel system to direct water from the forested hillto

p to nurture paddies on mountain slopes. The natural and cultural wonder was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2013.

It has not always been plain sailing. In the 1960s, a blight caused for

est coverage to drop to just 17 percent, threatening the terraced fields with a devastating drought.

The situation improved in recent decades after China tightened its crackdown on illegal lumb

ering and returned marginal farmland into forest, breathing new life into the local forests as well as terraced paddies.

But as economic takeoff swept across China, the Hani villages faced new trouble, as their old w

ays of farming and the limited output failed to keep young laborers from leaving for better-paying jobs in the cities.

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Environment officers have also begun to process the pollut

ution in the Xinfeng River – the most polluted water body in the park after the explosion –

to prevent it from contaminating waters outside the park, according to the release.

The construction of the pipeline connecting the river and the Yulang chemical sewage treatment plant was completed on Thursday night, it said.

“The priority in the team’s work is to handle the wastewater resul

ting from the explosion and to closely monitor nearby rivers and other water bodies to ensure th

at not even a single drop of untreated water will be discharged into the external environment of the park,” the release said.

According to the work plan, all polluted water would be temporari

ly stored at the Yulang chemical sewage treatment plant before being processed to meet national standards.

In addition to 50 environmental experts, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has also di

spatched more than 200 environment monitoring officers to the site, according to the ministry.

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Elwell defended the agency’s reliance on experts from ma

anufacturers and said the current system had produced an unprecedented safety record i

n the US. He said the FAA was “fully involved” in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8, including “133 of the 297 flight tests”.

Senator Richard Blumenthal questioned the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing 737 Max jet, argu

ing that reliance on the manufacturer put “the fox in charge of the henhouse”.

Blumenthal said Boeing rushed to get the 737 Max in the air to compete with Europe’s Airbus and disregarded critical safety features.

“There needs to be rigorous reform so the FAA is put back in charge of safety,” he said. “The

fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap,” he said.

Senator Jerry Moran asked what it would take for the FAA on its own to certify airc

raft. Elwell said: “Ten thousand additional FAA employees and $1.8 billion” per year.

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Currently, all special purpose local government bonds are

domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link

ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re

cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.

In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor

t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi

on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.

In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la

rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.

Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin

g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym

akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.

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She said she hoped to hold a third vote on the agreement l

later this week and was working to build support for the deal, which sets out the terms of withdrawing from the EU and the outline of future relations with the bloc.

May warned opponents that continuing to reject the deal could lead to a “slow Brexit” that postpones the country’s departure indefinitely.

With the March 29 Brexit day set almost two years ago days away and the withdr

awaal agreement lacking Parliament’s approval, European leaders agreed to a postponement last week to avoid a ch

aotic cliff-edge departure that would be disruptive for the world’s biggest trading bloc and deeply damaging for Britain.

However, the EU granted a shorter delay than May sought. It said if Parliament approves

the proposed divorce deal, the UK would leave the EU on May 22. If not, the government has until April 12 to tell the

27 remaining EU countries what it plans to do – leave without a deal, cancel Brexit or chart a path to a new option.

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Explosive device found in Ireland appears similar to thos

  A “viable improvised explosive device” contained in a plastic envelope was found in

a postal collection center in Limerick, western Ireland, the Irish police said in a statement.

  Police were alerted to a suspicious item shortly after 6 a.m. local time on Friday, authorities said in an earlier statem

ent. The army’s bomb disposal team arrived at the An Post’s collection center at 9:50 a.m. local time, where the package was found.

  ”On arrival a cordon was established and the building was evacuated for the duration of the operation. A viable impr

ovised explosive device contained in a plastic envelope was identified and made safe,” the Irish police statement said.

  London’s Metropolitan Police is cooperating with the Irish police on these investigations, both forces

said in separate statements on Friday. group calling itself the IRA previously claimed responsibility for sending five packages cont

aining improvised explosive devices to the UK earlier in March, but British police said they had only recovered four.

  On March 5, three devices were sent to major London transport hubs — Waterloo Stati

on and offices at Heathrow and City Airports — in what police said appeared to be part of a “linked series.”

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Indian tech billionaire gives $7.5 billion to charitywealth to

  India’s second-richest man is giving billions to charity in what may be the country’s biggest single donation ever.

  Azim Premji, the billionaire chairman of Wipro (WIT), is handing shares in the

tech company worth nearly 530 billion rupees ($7.5 billion) to his philanthropic foundation.

  The tech tycoon has now donated a total of $21 billion to the Azim Premji Foundat

ion over several years, including 67% of Wipro’s shares, the foundation said in a statement.

  Premji, 73, has a fortune of more than $18 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

  He was the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Warren Bu

ffett with Bill and Melinda Gates to encourage billionaires around the world to commit most of their wealth to charity.

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New Zealanders have rallied around their fellow citizens in the

  wake of the Christchurch tragedy, laying flowers and messages of support on the side of Hagley Park, close to the Al Noor mosque.

  A makeshift memorial grew in the center of the main street, below traffic lights that flashed orange to indicate roads leading to the mosque were closed.

  No one was allowed to approach the building, not even local home owner Sue Harrison, whose c

ar was still parked in the driveway of her property behind the Deans Avenue mosque.

  Christchurch resident Sue Harrison heard the gunshots from her house, near to the Al

Noor mosque, and called the police. Her son Zin (right) called her to check she was alright.

  She remembers listening to the soothing chant of afternoo

n prayers when it was broken by gunshots. Harrison called the police and hid inside her

house as the gunman worked his way through the mosque, shooting as many people as he could.

  ”The time the shots were happening, it was terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” Har

rison said. “There was almost an immediate feeling that they’re being targeted.”

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